Millennium Post

Export growth slows to 5-month low of 5.86%

'Three product categories (petroleum goods, gems and jewellery and pharmaceuticals) have pulled down our exports,' Commerce Secretary S R Rao said, adding that these sectors have a major contribution in the country's export basket.

India's exports stood at $24.6 billion in November 2013 as against $23.25 billion in the same month last year.

However, a 16.3 per cent decline in imports, particularly gold and silver, during the month helped in narrowing the trade deficit to $9.21 billion in November, which is second lowest level during the ongoing fiscal. In September, the trade gap fell to $6.76 billion.

Imports in November stood at $33.83 billion, which is the lowest figure since March 2011. Trade deficit in November 2012 was at $17.2 billion. Gold and silver imports in November dipped by 80.49 per cent to $1.05 billion from $5.4 billion in the same period last year. Oil imports too dipped by 1.1 per cent to $12.96 billion during the month.

Rao said that gems and jewellery exports declined due to increase in the prices of rough diamonds.

'The cost of rough diamonds have gone up significantly as a result of which traders did not purchase the diamonds during November. And as regards to petroleum products, I believe couple of refineries were shut (due to maintenance). Also, there has been reduction in pharmaceutical exports,' he said.

Commenting on the figures, Apparel Export Promotion Council chairman A Sakthivel said in the coming months exports would pick up fast.

In April-November 2013, exports grew by 6.27 per cent to $204 billion while imports aggregated at $304 billion.

Trade deficit for the period stands at $100 billion.  Refined petroleum goods exports declined by 11.8 per cent to $4.7 billion in November 2013 from $5.3 billion in the same month last year.
Rao said that pharma exports declined due to some domestic regulations.

'This is being caused by the fact that the domestic regulations of controlling drug prices for essential drugs...importers worldwide are hammering down on prices of Indian drugs by stating that you (India) are selling the same drug domestically at 'X' cost, then sell us at the same rate,' he added.

However, the Secretary exuded confidence that exports of petroleum products, gems and jewellery and pharmaceuticals would start picking up from December.

During April-November period this fiscal, gold and silver imports totalled $25.5 billion. It was $33.5 billion in the same period previous fiscal.

Non-oil imports in November declined by 23.69 per cent to $20.86 billion. It was at $192.833 billion during the eight-month (April-November) period of this fiscal.

Oil imports during this period in the ongoing fiscal grew by 2.8 per cent to $111.05 billion.
Rao expressed hope that India would achieve its $325 billion exports target for this fiscal.

Rafeeque Ahmed, President, Federation of Indian Export Organisations (FIEO) too said the target will be achieved easily.

'Trade deficit will be within $140-150 billion range in the current fiscal which will help in keeping current account deficit (CAD) between $50-60 billion,' Ahmed added.
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